Before the trip began, Duncan Keith said the team wanted to prove to themselves they were good on the road. Until that point they had only played six away from home compiling a 2-3-1 mark. Keith, his teammates, and his coach should like what they’re seeing after yet another solid win, 5-2 over Edmonton Saturday night.
“Two good games. Rock solid in both.”
Those were Joel Quenneville’s sentiments on Comcast SportsNet after the win for their second straight to start the circus trip and sixth overall.
The formula for the Edmonton game is one I’m sure Quenneville would like to bottle. Get off to a lead, get solid goaltending, add a late power play goal to ice it, and distribute minutes so there’s something left in the tank for Sunday’s matchup against Vancouver. No Hawk, other than Bryan Bickell (because of injury), played less than 12 minutes and Quenneville was able to keep rolling the lines because of that early lead. The Hawks led 3-1 after one.
Team depth was on display in this one as 10 different skaters had at least a point in the win. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist and now has a nine game point streak. Jonathan Toews opened and closed the scoring for the Hawks, who are unbeaten since his return from injury.
“He’s playing great,” Quenneville said on Comcast SportsNet. “He really has taken off since he [was] out.”
The Oilers had cut the lead to 4-2 with a power play tally early in the third period but a few minutes later Cristobal Huet came up with a big save and during the sequence was run over by Edmonton’s Ethan Moreau. Toews scored on the ensuing power play and that was the game.
Since Toews’ return, the Hawks have found their puck possession game and dominated the play in the offensive zone. Despite losing Bickell after he slammed his head on the ice delivering a check, Kane and Toews didn’t miss a beat on the top line. They hooked up on the first goal with a great forecheck, as Toews stole the puck and roofed his own rebound to get the Hawks on the board. Quenneville said Bickell was day to day. He was able to walk off the ice with the help of teammates. His status for Sunday night’s game is uncertain.
There’s a good chance Huet will have the night off after another solid performance. He’s been in goal for every win in the streak and only once has given up more than two. His goals against average is tied for fourth in the league at 2.16. That’s incredible, considering the start to the season he had, but his game has come around. Quenneville didn’t completely rule out Huet playing Sunday, saying, “We’ll discuss it.”